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OPINION | DAN DAUGHERTY: Woo pig!

Why I’m a fan of Razorback football by DAN DAUGHERTY SPECIAL TO THE DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE | September 16, 2021 at 2:55 a.m.

On Sept. 11, I was reminded why I'm a fan of the University of Arkansas football Hogs when the Razorbacks routed 15th-ranked Texas in the most thrilling game we've played in more than a decade. Truthfully, the past 10 seasons have given legitimate cause for even the most loyal of fans to wonder why we hang in there and call those Hogs rain or shine.

To be an unwavering Razorback football fan, you have to be a bit twisted, meaning one who likes to root for the underdog. You have to face the reality that there are many games on the schedule we are likely to lose, but then maybe we won't. Maybe we'll surprise them. We side with David against a multitude of Goliaths.

For those who don't get it, let me explain. If you're, say, an Alabama fan or fan of any of the other three of four perennial top powerhouse programs in the country, you expect to win every game. Even a single occasional loss is grave disaster. How much fun is that? Well, maybe it is, but we wouldn't know.

Razorback fans know they're the little guy in the fight. But they always have the thrilling, almost magical possibility of somehow knocking off the big guy. We know it's possible because we've done it throughout our history.

The magical moments I recall go all the way back to the 1965 Arkansas victory over Texas at Fayetteville when Jon Brittenum hit Bobby Crockett with a pass to the end zone in the final seconds for a 27-24 win. Everybody on both teams and in the bleachers knew it was going to be an end-zone pass to Crockett, yet Bobby managed to emerge out of a mass of defenders with ball in hand.

A lot of fans would rather forget The Big Shootout of 1969 between No. 1 Texas and No. 2 Arkansas. Despite the heartbreaking 15-14 Arkansas loss, we were still playing for the National Championship and I was proud to be a Razorback.

It was magic when Arkansas beat Oklahoma 31-6 in the 1978 Orange Bowl. Ron Calcagni and Roland Sales (who seemed to come out of nowhere) will forever be my heroes.

The 1981 42-11 upset against No. 1 Texas was an unexpected kill shot out of David's sling.

Cheering on Matt Jones, the phenomenal Darren McFadden, Felix Jones and later Ryan Mallett and Tyler Wilson gave me great joy and made me proud of my little state.

Then after a long drought and even a few doses of embarrassment, the dominating performance of both offense and defense Sept. 11, 2021, against Texas reminded me why I'm a fan. The icing on the cake was when, with only seconds to go in the game, backup quarterback Malik Hornsby scampered 29 yards to within easy striking distance for another Razorback touchdown. On the next snap he took a knee which, without saying it, said, "Look Texas, we are the Razorbacks of Arkansas! We have class and we will not embarrass you further."

That, friends, is why we are fans.


Dan Daugherty is a retired public relations adviser who lives in Little Rock.

Print Headline: Woo pig!

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